CARDINAL George Pell’s apologies to victims of sexual abuse by priests and others within the Catholic Church have been labelled hypocritical by an advocacy group.
Dr Pell will leave Australia for the Vatican on Monday to take up a new post as chief of the Holy See’s finances after 13 years as the eighth Archbishop of Sydney.
He used his farewell sermon at St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney on Thursday night to ‘‘apologise once again to the victims and their families for the terrible suffering that has been brought to bear by these crimes’’.
The apology came just hours after Dr Pell appeared at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and read out a statement to ‘‘publicly say sorry’’ to former alter boy John Ellis, who was abused by a priest.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests leader Nicky Davis said both apologies were ‘‘completely hypocritical’’.
Ms Davis, who was in the commission’s public gallery, described the cardinal as showing ‘‘no emotion’’.
‘‘His tone was completely flat, there was no emotion, no humanity there,’’ she said yesterday.
‘‘He deliberately didn’t look at John and then he walked out right past John ... and still looked away and didn’t look at him.
‘‘That’s not how you apologise to someone. That’s a slap in the face.’’
She urged the Church to provide more assistance to victims.